Oregon Ducks Fans: Please Admit That East Coast Bias Does Not Exist
OK, Oregon Ducks fans, and Pac-10 fans in general, time to step up to the plate and admit the truth: east coast bias does not exist. It never has and it never will. Just take the last few years.
Exhibit A: USC wins the AP title in 2003.
Exhibit B: USC sweeps ALL the polls in 2004.
Exhibit C: USC is No. 3 in both polls, in position to take on the Ohio State-Michigan winner, until losing to UCLA in 2006.
Exhibit D: Oregon this season. That's right. Oregon has been No. 1 in both polls since Ohio State lost and now it's No. 1 in the BCS rankings, as well.
This despite (until recently) there being a multitude of other options, i.e. Oklahoma, Missouri and Michigan State. This despite there NOW being another option, namely Auburn.
And this despite Oregon playing a non-conference schedule that is actually weaker than national-media-skewered LSU in 2003 (and no worse than the Auburn schedule of 2004). Oregon has only played two winning teams so far (Stanford and USC, who themselves haven't bested a single ranked team between them).
So here we are, nine weeks into the season, and the No. 1 team in the country has played three of the worst teams in the country (0-8 New Mexico, 1-8 Washington State and 2-6 Tennessee, who are a combined 0-15 in conference play), an FCS team, while none of their opponents have a single victory against a team currently ranked.
And no, this team is not the defending national champion. Instead, it is a team that lost to Boise State to begin last season and Ohio State to end it, meaning that the old "the defending champs are No. 1 until they get beat" logic does not apply.
If an SEC team had this profile, west coast fans would scream "favoritism, bias, media conspiracy led by ESPN!" until the cows came home.
Now let me make this point clear: I DO NOT HAVE A PROBLEM WITH OREGON BEING RANKED NO. 1 IN THE COUNTRY. Quite the contrary. Oregon reminds me of the 1980s and 1990s Nebraska teams that I rooted for and immensely enjoyed watching.
Instead, my claim is that Oregon's No. 1 ranking disproves any arguments about east coast bias.
Pac-10 fans will not acknowledge that fact because it means acknowledging the reason why Pac-10 teams haven't been ranked No. 1 in the past: they weren't good enough. It was never bias, but rather the fact that Pac-10 teams would not put themselves into position to be considered.
Pac-10 fans—and media writers—claimed that it was because the Pac-10 was too tough to go undefeated in year after year, but USC's run under Pete Carroll exposed that claim for the nonsense that it was.
And it isn't just Oregon, mind you. Boise State is No. 2 in the AP poll (ahead of Auburn), and future Pac-12 team Utah is No. 6 in the AP as well. And the winner of TCU-Utah will certainly be ranked ahead of Alabama and perhaps even ranked ahead of Auburn.
My point is not that this shouldn't happen, but instead that it would not happen if east coast bias really existed.
The whole idea of "east coast bias" is ridiculous anyway. Why?
First off, the west coast has gigantic media markets: Phoenix, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle. The "east coast" media markets, New York, Boston and Philadelphia are pro sports towns that could care less about college football.
The only exceptions: Miami and Atlanta.
Washington shared the AP title with Miami in 1992, and save a fluky title from the coaches' poll in 1991, Georgia Tech hasn't been a national factor since the 1950s.
Also, the national media is going to generally favor schools like USC, UCLA, Stanford, etc., because those are the schools that many sportswriters themselves attended and send their kids to.
How many national sportswriters at USA Today, Sports Illustrated, the Sporting News, ESPN, the AP, the New York Times, etc., earned their degrees at Tennessee or North Carolina State? My point exactly.
That's precisely the reason why the stars from those 2002-05 USC teams (Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, etc.) became Madison Avenue superstars, while the only Big 12, Big Ten or SEC player to come anywhere close to rivaling them was Tim Tebow.
So Pac-10 fans, admit it. East coast bias never existed. The only problem was that those allegedly-great Terry Donahue UCLA teams (for example) simply weren't as good as Oregon is right now, or as good as USC was earlier this decade.
East coast bias and Oregon's No. 1 ranking after having played the schedule it has cannot occupy two places at the same time, Pac-10 fans.
It is past time to give it up.
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